Today, Caine provides with an excellent suggestion on Digital Comics!
With this weeks PCDW post we will bury our heads in the sand and not discuss the [probable? eventual? soon to come?] drastic finality of the comic book industry as a whole which has been the topic of discussion all over the Internet of late here, here, here, and here.
Instead, this weeks Paper Comics Death Watch is about Digital Comics. Now, let me be specific, when I'm talking about digital comic books, I'm talking about digital comic books sanctioned and offered by the publishing company that publishes them, who have set up a digital content delivery system to provide those comics to their fans/readers. Marvel has them, and recently lowered the price to subscribe to their comics. In addition, Marvel has begun sending out three free digital comics each week by way of a email newsletter of sorts.
How about other comic book publishers? lets look at a few.
Yes. As of right now Image seems to have only put #1 issues of a large number of their comic books online but they are free, easily accessible from the main menu on the left side of the page, and are offered in a clean interface that is easy to use.
No. At least not off of their main page [I didn't take a look at their myspace page].
No not off of their main page.
No. DC Comics do not have any digital comic books on their web site. This is a shame. The "other" comic book company that is known as part of "The Big Two" should have a digital delivery system for Digital Comics don't you think? Its true that Marvel has had billions of dollars of success from their properties over the past decade, but come on DC has SUPERMAN, BATMAN, and WONDER WOMAN. These characters, as Jim Lee has stated, are "rocks" and no matter where you go people know of and love them.
While I'm sure DC is working on a digital comic delivery system, I can't help offer my advice on digital comics they could offer right now to help increase sales and please the fans. Now, much like Marvel, DC could offer back issues of existing comics that were originally published on paper as well as all original tales. Those that have been pre-published we'll call second run. Those created specifically for the digital delivery system we'll call first run.
2nd Run [collected issues and reprints for sale by subscription or download]
1.) "Batman" related books that focus on his sidekicks: Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, Oracle and the like. This second run title could be filled with the best "bits and pieces" of several sidekick tales put together in a sort of collected edition. This book could be used to help the wing-nuts of the world get their fix as well as act as a lead in to the future "Post-RIP" plans for DC and the bat characters and beyond.
2.) The Green Lantern CORE. Instead of collecting actual CORE stories though, DC could collect the books so that in each issue the fan/reader will get a story focusing on Hal, Kyle, John, and Guy. In this book, there would literally be something for everyone.
3.) Elseworlds stories. These would be "portions" of the entire elseworld stories designed to sell the reader the idea of going out and purchasing the graphic novel. New elseworld stories could debut this way as well.
4.) Comics aimed at attracting girls. I don't mean "attracting girls for the comic book dummy", but rather comic books that female readers, possibly the demographic with the lowest fan base, would be attracted to and want to buy/read.
1st Run [original content that's created specifically for digital delivery]
1.) Batman Beyond. Quite possibly one of the most unique and fun takes on Batman in a long time was canceled long before its time. The "Beyond" universe has lots of potential for countless stories that could easily spread out to other characters such as the Flash, Superman, and the Green Lantern. I'd pay to see Inque go up against Kate's Manhunter or Donna Troy. The same goes for Shriek up against Bart Allen as the Flash.
2.) Milestone. Forget reprints [which will happen I'm sure]; Icon, Static, Hardware, and the Shadow Cabinet should have montly titles right now. I'm sure Dwayne McDuffie & Denys Cowan have un-published stories for each to run right now.
3.) Titans United. Did you know that the XMen were created specifically to compete in sales with the gathering of the DC Sidekick hero books? What started in the Brave & The Bold grew into the Teen Titans. At one point in time, the Titans were one of the biggest selling comics on the market. Since then, there has been at least one Titans title being published ever since. This book would be broad in scope, almost as if the Titans were a separate universe in the DCU, and encompass all of the different Titans teams and characters month in and month out.
4.) DC/Wildstorm. Why not promote both universes at the same time and give the fans what they want, Wildstorm characters in the DCU. This book could be a permanent elseworlds title where the writers would be free to do as they wanted since none of it would effect the dcu continuity.
5.) Licensed properties. DC used to compete in the arena of licensed properties with Marvel. While Darkhorse and Wildstorm seem to carry the torch these days. I'd like to see DC use the digital delivery system for more licensed properties such as the Tom Cruise Valkyrie movie and more.